8 under-the-radar capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Aug 09, 2021

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a powerful, cloud-based business platform that combines components of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) with productivity applications, low-code customization capabilities and artificial intelligence (AI) tools. But it doesn’t end there.

The Dynamics 365 platform runs an integrated set of applications that covers sales, marketing, customer service, field service, finance, supply chain management, project operations, human resources and e-commerce. Dynamics 365 removes barriers between CRM, ERP, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams and other systems while providing the specific application mix that meets the unique needs of each organization.

Here are some Dynamics 365 capabilities that might surprise you:

1. Connect to hundreds of applications in a single system.

Dynamics 365 can connect to both Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications via hundreds of out-of-the box connectors that transform it into a data and application hub for any organization. For example, it can connect to payment processors, e-commerce solutions, warehouse management systems, manufacturing solutions and analytics applications, just to name a few.

It also has native integrations with Microsoft 365 productivity applications, including Microsoft Office. For example, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, Retail and other components connect to Teams to show recent and ongoing chats, channels and people related to the customer record in view. As a sales team member browses customer records, the side panel displays Teams chats and channels that mention the customer or account, as well as suggested chats and contacts based on colleagues who are working on the account.

2. Link to Microsoft Office 365 and other workflow-enabling applications.

Dynamics 365 works with Power Automate to connect to Office 365, SharePoint, Outlook, Teams and more—as well as other popular applications including Twitter, Asana and many others. For example, you can integrate Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement with SharePoint so that external parties can upload information into a secure extranet that flows into the CRM system and triggers actions. In fact, Microsoft has re-imagined the concept of customer relationship management to encompass customer experience as a whole.

Microsoft’s Customer Engagement suite of applications, part of Dynamics 365, streamlines and integrates workloads such as sales, marketing, customer service and field service. Dynamics 365 Project Operations connects sales, resourcing, project management and finance teams within a single application to help win more deals, accelerate project delivery and maximize profitability.

What can you do? Receive a weekly email summary of new Dynamics 365 opportunities. Start a deal approval when a Dynamics 365 opportunity is won. Create Dynamics 365 leads based on Tweets. Trigger an employee request form for procurement or time off. Update commodity prices based on real-time market information, or auto-generate custom user instructions based on a pre-defined sequence. The possibilities are endless.

3. Pull together customer data from different digital sources to analyze it.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights can consolidate data from disparate sources into useful dashboards powered by customizable turnkey analytics and reports that offer practical insights and next steps. The solution’s menu provides an easy-to-understand interface to identify sources, such as data from a website and sales transactions. Then, the “Unify” function enables users to map fields from the existing databases into a new customer database.

You can match customers using rules based on specific or fuzzy logic and merge the data to find out which customers should be carried forward into a new database. Once the unified database is up and running, users can create rules to isolate different customer segments, which then become a source for identifying specific past behaviors.

4. Predict customer behavior.

Not only does Dynamics 365 Customer Insights bring together all your customer data. It also helps you predict customer needs with built-in intelligence. Intelligent models can predict things like customer lifetime value, transactional churn and subscription churn, and recommend relevant products and services to your customers.

You can also use AI-driven recommendations to discover new or under-served customer segments who are looking to purchase your products or services. 

5. Execute personalized experiences for marketing, sales and e-commerce.

Dynamics 365 Commerce helps you deliver personalized buying experiences seamlessly across channels for customers, whether they’re consumers or businesses, online or in-store. You can see a comprehensive view of customers via a unified commerce platform, respond to their needs across engagements and foster lasting relationships. Built-in connectors link ERP with shipping, receiving, customer records and all other data for automation of workflows. Meanwhile, salespeople can receive AI-driven customer insights that improve customer experience, drive greater ROI and optimize business practices.

6. Improve field service performance.

Dynamics 365 Field Service connects to Microsoft Office 365 for integrated and automated scheduling and assignment of resources. This improves efficiency and response. For example, it optimizes routes to maximum efficiency with clear channels of communication to on-site workers, contractors and customers to ensure that your field representatives are spending their time helping customers rather than sitting in traffic.

Dynamics 365 Field Service can also provide on-the-job guidance with Dynamics 365 Guides, which allow internal experts to create step-by-step holographic instructions that your field workers can use via a HoloLens headset or a standard mobile phone or tablet. 

7. Automate manual tasks.

You can extend Dynamics 365 through Microsoft’s Power Platform for business intelligence, application development and application connectivity. Power Platform allows users to analyze data, act on what they find and automate processes based on their insights. In a world where resources are already constrained, these tools give your employees more time for value-add tasks while also providing operational excellence for your organization. Power Platform is natively extensible across Azure and combines four components:

  • Power BI, a business intelligence tool for visualizing data
  • PowerApps, a tool that both professional and citizen developers can use to easily create business applications
  • Power Automate, a tool for connecting various applications to enable workflow automation
  • Power Virtual Agents, a tool for creating dynamic website chatbots.

8. Build new business models.

Dynamics 365 can be your organization’s all-in-one digital transformation platform because it offers everything that digital transformation requires:

  • Flexible scalability: Dynamics 365 resides on the Azure cloud, where it can scale compute and storage as needed to accommodate your growing workloads.
  • Connectivity: Dynamics 365 connects all critical business processes, from supply chain management to customer experience. As you develop innovative, digitally based business models, you can operate them on the Dynamics 365 platform.
  • Shared data: An integrated platform like Dynamics 365 provides a “single source of truth” and ensures data integrity and accuracy so you can operate and forecast with confidence.
  • Always up to date: As a cloud-based solution, Dynamics 365 is always up to date with the latest technology and capabilities. As new updates and capabilities come online, they’re instantly available to use.
  • Advanced automation: Dynamics 365 leverages AI and machine learning (ML) to bring intelligence to automation. Reduce manual processes so your team can focus less on mundane tasks and more on value-add activities.

Dynamics 365 provides an ideal foundation upon which to build your company’s digital transformation. Its comprehensive capabilities continuously expand the familiar toolset you already use to take on the workloads required in the digital world.

As one of the largest and most decorated Microsoft Dynamics 365 providers in the United States, RSM can help make sure your Dynamics 365 applications are the right ones to achieve your goals and allow your team to perform at its best.